iOS 13 Apple Pay Suica has been fairly predictable until iOS 13 b6. The latest beta includes a new Wallet method for creating a virtual Suica card directly in Wallet. No more Suica App, no more SuicaEng. The new iOS 13 Wallet method for adding Suica goes straight to a virtual card setup with an option to ‘transfer existing card’ for plastic Suica. It is exactly the same setup for adding Beijing/Shanghai transit cards to Wallet, without the UnionPay only limitation of those cards.
This explains why SuicaEng app has not appeared in other languages: it’s just a stopgap until iOS 13 direct Suica card creation. This makes adding Suica to Apple Pay easier than ever, and is a great addition for inbound visitors coming for the Tokyo Olympics. It also puts Suica on the same footing with the upcoming Apple Pay Octopus which also will support direct card creation. Another nice touch is that it removes the ‘one virtual Suica card’ limit of Suica App and SuicaEng, you can create as many virtual Suica cards as Wallet allows.
I hope we will see more changes in how iOS 13 Region settings work with Apple Pay Wallet. Changing region settings to add Wallet cards confuses users, it needs to be simple. One of the nice things about SuicaEng is that it complete ignores Region settings and adds the card.
iOS 13 b6 also sheds light on the iPhone 7 FeliCa support mystery. A screenshot of a iPhone 7 Hong Kong model running iOS 13 does not mention transit cards when adding Apple Pay cards, while global FeliCa models like iPhone XS include transit cards in the blurb. This is disappointing news for non-JP model iPhone 7 users, but not unexpected. At least we now have some clarity: non-JP model iPhone 7 supports FeliCa for Core NFC Read/Write mode but not for card emulation mode. The jury is out for iPhone 7 JP models but since they already support FeliCa card emulation, they will surely support Apple Pay Octopus. Here is a comparison of iPhone 7 and iPhone XS screenshots.